Pill testing back in focus after Groovin the Moo gets green light
The ACT government has given the green light for a pill testing trial to occur at Groovin the Moo’s Canberra show on April 28 in Exhibition Park.
The move has brought the issue back under the national spotlight for discussion.
ACT chief minister Andrew Barr confirmed the trial, which will be run by Pill Testing Australia, is only the second time the service will be offered at a music festival in Australia.
The first was at last year’s Groovin’ The Moo.
Barr posted, “Governments have a responsibility to not only try and prevent drug use but also to support initiatives that reduce the harms associated with drug use.
“Pill testing does not make taking illicit drugs safe and our message to the community will always be, don’t take drugs.
“However, pill testing provides a health intervention at the point when someone is making the decision to take a pill.
“By making this service available at music festivals there is the potential to save lives.”
The 2018 testers discovered that more than 80% of those who had their pills tested thought they were taking MDMA and ecstasy, but half were in a more dangerous form.
Barr will invite health ministers from across the country to attend the tests and has encouraged them to look at introducing tests in their states and territories.
The move has brought the issue to the fore.
Last night ABC-TV’s current affairs show Q&A devoted itself to the pros and cons of pill-testing,, with a panel and spotlighted audience members of medical experts, past and present senior police, one-time drug users and grieving parents.
Pill testing advocate David Caldicott said the issue had become “politicised” and that more deaths would follow.
Earlier, in Victoria, minister for creative industries Martin Foley emphasised that while the state would not go down the path “of the NSW government’s knee-jerk reaction to regulate the bajeebies out of (festival/music) providers”, the state would not follow Canberra’s lead in pill-testing.
He told the Ballarat Courier: “[There’s a] whole lot of other unresolved issues around liability, around certainty of those tests, and around legal obligations that may place the state, operator, or provider in.
“It’s a complex issue because of all those other unresolved issues and those shifting of resources means we’re not in a position to do so.”